Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer announced Thursday that his office in coordination with other state and city agencies has reached a $1,643,500 settlement with Whole Foods Market California Inc. and two related entities resolving allegations of unlawful handling and disposal of hazardous waste and materials.
"This judgment will ensure strong steps are taken to protect our environment and public health," Feuer said. "And it demonstrates the deep commitment of prosecutors and environmental agencies throughout California to enforce our hazardous waste laws."
The settlement was reached in coordination with statewide regulatory agencies and 21 other California district and city attorneys.
According to Feuer's office, over a five-year period, Whole Foods Market, Mrs. Gooch's Natural Food Market Inc., and WFM-WO Inc., mishandled hazardous waste and materials including batteries, electronic devices, ignitable liquids, aerosol products, cleaning agents and other flammable reactive toxic and corrosive materials.
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Under the settlement, the Whole Foods entities must pay $1,202,800 in civil penalties, $202,800 to reimburse the costs of the investigation, and $237,900 to fund supplemental environmental projects furthering consumer protection and environmental enforcement in California, Feuer's office said.
The Whole Foods entities must also hire an employee to strengthen the companies' hazardous waste programs. The three entities must also properly label, package, and store hazardous waste, and ensure that incompatible wastes do not combine to cause dangerous chemical reactions.
The judgment requires the companies to properly document their hazardous waste and dispose of it at authorized facilities.